|Spicy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta|
• ½ pound dried pasta, spirals or bow-tie are best but whatever you have will work
• 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 5 garlic cloves
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 4 medium, tightly packed florets), chopped into bite-sized pieces
• ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
• 2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled while still cold (around ½ cup)
• ⅓ cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
• 15 pitted kalamata olives, chopped optional
• ½ small lemon, juiced
1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, as directed on the package instructions. Remove the pot from heat and ladle/pour about 1 cup of the pasta water in a heat resistant measuring cup or small pitcher. Drain the pasta colander and let it rest, covered.
2 In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to simmer. Cook for about 30 seconds more to infuse the oil with spicy, garlicky flavor, but do not let the garlic brown. Pour and scrape the seasoned oil into another small, heatproof bowl and set aside.
3 Return the pan to the stove. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium-low until shimmering. Add the broccoli. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli has shrunk to a single layer in the pan and turned bright green, and most have some browning on them (about ten minutes). You actually want the browning on the broccoli for flavor, don’t skimp on the cooking time.
4 Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Measure out ⅓ cup pasta water (reserve the rest for later) and pour it into the pan. Cover the pan with its lid and continue cooking until the water has simmered down to almost nothing, about 15 to 30 seconds. Uncover and remove the pan from heat.
5 Add the drained pasta to the pan and drizzle in all of the infused oil. Stir well to coat the broccoli, then add the goat cheese and most of the Parmesan cheese. Stir until everything is well distributed. Add another 1 to 2 tablespoons pasta water, the chopped olives and lemon juice, and stir until the goat cheese loosens up and gets creamier. Add a tablespoon more pasta water or additional goat cheese if you'd like it to be more creamy. If it seems dry at all, add a little splash of olive oil and mix well.
6 Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining Parmesan.
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